The Benefits of Olive Oil
When most people think of olive oil, cooking with it is the first thing that comes to mind. It is actually a multi-use product, and for centuries around the world, it has been used in cosmetics, soaps, home health remedies, and even household cleaning products. While olive oil production in the US is limited to California, Arizona and Texas, a majority of it comes from the Mediterranean.
The main type of fat found in olive oil is monounsaturated fatty acids, which are considered a healthy dietary fat. This type of fat has been shown to control bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise good cholesterol (HDL), which has the potential to lower your risk of heart disease. Avocados, nuts, and certain types of fatty fish also contain monounsaturated fats.
Because healthy fats are still high in calories, they should still be used in moderation. The key is to choose your fats wisely. Olive oil can be used as a substitute for other fatty foods (like butter) not in addition to them.
Selecting the Right Kind
Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Depending on where the olives were grown, this is the most flavorful. Best for salads or recipes calling for extra flavor. It is the healthiest type of olive oil and because of the wide range of flavor, it is the most versatile. It is best when it is yellow or green in color. The term cold pressed is used because it is made by mechanically pressing the olives without heat or chemicals.
Virgin Olive Oil: It has a lighter flavor since it is made from slightly riper olives. Best used with low-temperature cooking.
Pure Olive oil: Its subtle flavor is good for every day cooking or frying. It is usually a blend of Extra Virgin, Virgin or refined olive oils. Heat is used in the extraction process so there are less antioxidants than the Extra Virgin type.
Light Olive Oil: Like pure olive oil, this is less flavorful, due to the fact that it is heat-treated and not cold pressed. In addition to everyday cooking, it is also good for baking. The light description refers to a lower grade of oil and not lower calories.
When buying it, look for oils that come in a dark green glass or other material that protects it from light. Light and heat can cause oxidation which, as a result, changes the beneficial properties of it.
Nutritional value of 100g (3.5oz) of olive oil:
- Saturated 14g
- Monounsaturated 73g
- Polyunsaturated 11g
- Omega-3 fat <1.5g
- Omega-6 fat 3.5-21g
Vitamin K – 59% of RDA for adults
Vitamin E – 93% of RDA for adults
At Fresh ‘N Fit Cuisine, we use Extra Virgin Olive Oil exclusively in our Paleo menu, while using an olive & canola oil blend for everything else. Quality and flavor are always a priority and you can taste that in all of our meals. Save 10% off your first order with promo code BLOG10!
Do you have additional tips for using olive oil? Share them in our comments sections!